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4 tips to buy your dream wedding without the nightmare cost

Lucy Dean
How much would you pay for your perfect day? Image: Getty
How much would you pay for your perfect day? Image: Getty

“I said yes!”

To $18,683 in food, alcohol and venue costs.

Another $4,271 in wedding clothing and accessories.

And another $3,983 in photography.

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But that’s fairly cheap for a lifetime of happiness, right?

Weddings can be expensive, with the average Aussie wedding coming with a $36,200 price tag, according to Australian financial watchdog, ASIC.

And with social media, destination weddings and large families, weddings can often exceed even this sum.

The good news is there are ways to have the dream wedding without the nightmare cost.

1. Ask yourself, what do we want?

Remove yourself from the social media bubble and ask yourself, “What do we really want?” is AMP financial adviser Darren James’ first piece of advice.

Some couples want to throw the biggest party possible and face the financial ramifications later, while others would prefer to have a smaller wedding and start married life in a strong financial position.

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“You’ve got to look at it and think, ‘What is it that we need the wedding to look like? Rather than competing with what our friends do, what is it that’s good for us and then sets us up going forward after that point.’”

2. Budget

You’ve heard this one before, but couples that budget are significantly more likely to exit their wedding debt-free than their carefree companions.

Having a budget will also help couples avoid falling prey to comparison.

“The earlier a couple can start saving the more likely they are to stick to that savings regime and have what they need come wedding time,” James said.

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“The reason for that is you’re not having to put as much money away come wedding time you’re suddenly having to save large chunks and what you’ll find is you’re having to dip into savings.”

3. Get some clear costings

“People don’t get hard, firm costings on what the wedding will actually cost,” James said.

“I think people go in with an idea of what they think it might cost and save according to that but then they go to physically do some of the things and find out they cost more than what they actually think.”

For example, flowers and decorations cost the average couple $2,896, according to ASIC, while photography costs $3,983.

4. Talk to your partner about money

You’re marrying them, so hopefully you’re already talking about money. If not, you should get on that stat.

“As a couple you’ve got to say, this is something we’ve got to do and you’ve got to mutually come to an arrangement where we both agree on how much we’ve got to save or how we’re going to manage those finances,” James said.

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It’s also worth noting that figuring out finances before marriage can be tricky as finances usually aren’t combined, so couples are relying on each other to do the right thing.

That’s all well and good, but how do I save money on my big day?

There are a number of ways you can cut cost further.

ASIC suggested lovebirds have an out-of-season wedding, as a summer package of $120 per head can easily fall to $80 over winter.

Having your wedding on a Friday is also usually cheaper.

Venues that offer an all-inclusive food or beverage package can help you save, or you could seek out a venue that lets you bring your own alcohol and keep an eye out for sales. It’s best to avoid paying for drinks on consumption at venues as this can lead to skyrocketing prices.

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Another option is to be brutal with your guest list and your bridal party. A smaller bridal party means less bouquets, bridal cars and dresses. The economic benefit of a smaller wedding is easy to see, and also means you can spend more money to make sure the people there really enjoy it.

Good luck, lovers!

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